Christmas time reminds me of my grandmother who use to make mini tamales that were eaten as small bites before our Christmas dinner.
- 1 whole, cage-free, all natural chicken, cut into pieces (keep bones on for flavor)
- 1 small onion, chopped into large pieces
- ½ head of fresh, minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 15 Corn Husks
- 25 ounce Massa (Virgin)
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 cup water
- Immerse chicken in big pot of water. Add onions, garlic and salt. Cover and set to medium heat.
- Boil together for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
- Once chicken is fully cooked, remove from water, cool to touch and debone.
- Shred the chicken, place in large mixing bowl.
- Pour flavoring salsa over chicken and mix with hands.
- In a large container, place the corn husks deep in hot water and cover for a couple hours until they are soft and pliable. Tip: you may need to weigh them down with an inverted plate and a heavy can to keep them submerged.
- In an electric mixer add Massa to the bowl.
- At medium-low speed add the following ingredients one at a time: chili paste, baking powder, salt, oil and water.
- Mix everything until it gets soft and heavy.
- Drain water from husks.
- Cut husks in half in order to make mini tamales.
- One at a time, flatten out the husks and add 2 tablespoons of Massa on the middle of the corn husk, leaving a little more room at the bottom of the husk.
- Add 1/2 oz of chicken filling in the middle of the Massa.
- Take the left side of the husk and fold it directly over the right side. Fold the narrow bottom end of the husk onto the folded tamale.
- ** For parties and presentation you can tie with strip of corn husk when serving dry tamales.
- As you are making the tamales, stand them up on their rolled ends in a prepared steamer basket. Steam over boiling water for approximately 20-30 minutes until Massa is firm and holds its shape. Tip: Cover the tamales in the steamer with a layer of the left over corn husks. You can also fill empty spaces with gently wadded aluminum foil to prevent them from falling over.
- In Casa Vega we serve them “oven-style”: gently remove the tamale from the husk and plate. Cover with homemade enchilada sauce, sprinkle with cheddar and jack cheese and cook in hot oven for 2-3 min until cheese is melted.
- At home we serve them dry: Let everyone unroll their own tamale and serve with Tapatio and Mexican Crema.